Belfast Telegraph

Row over agents delays inquest into pensioner Roseann Mallon murdered by UVF

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Closure of a long-running inquest into the controversial killing of a pensioner has been held up by at least two weeks.

The case for 76-year-old Roseann Mallon has been dogged by delay since it started in 2013.

The latest adjournment was agreed after a lawyer representing the security forces requested time to devise a "formula" for responding to a legal challenge of the policy not to identify informants.

The court heard how lawyers for the Mallon family do not accept responses given by two police witnesses who declined to confirm or deny whether the murder suspects were working as State agents. Kevin Rooney QC, representing the PSNI and MoD, said the so-called NCND (neither confirm nor deny) policy was "important" and claimed any review could have wider ramifications.

He said: "There are repercussions in how the NCND policy is applied, not only in this inquest but in subsequent inquests. Even though in this case it is the Chief Constable that is concerned - it does go to a higher level."

Mr Rooney later added: "The response from the interested parties is that they have taken everything on board but would like some time to consider the way forward."

Miss Mallon was shot dead when loyalist paramilitaries attacked her sister-in-law's Co Tyrone home in May 1994. The spinster, who suffered arthritis, was hit multiple times when gunmen from the outlawed UVF indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow at Cullenrammer Road on the edge of Dungannon.

The UVF said its notorious mid Ulster brigade was responsible and was targeting two of Ms Mallon's nephews, Christopher Mallon - who was not home at the time - and Martin Mallon, who lived half-a-mile away.

Both were involved with the republican movement.

In the aftermath, military spying equipment was found in a nearby field, sparking claims of security force collusion.

The covert camera was relaying footage to an Army unit posted in a nearby wood. The inquest has previously heard how tape recordings were wiped and the camera was unable to operate in poor weather and darkness.

No one has ever been convicted of Ms Mallon's killing, although high-profile killer Billy Wright, who was murdered in 1997, and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned.

The inquest was dramatically halted in December 2013 when it emerged that the weapon had been linked to at least six other loyalist killings in the east Tyrone area. Last week it was claimed the Czech-bought assault rifle was part of a consignment brought into Northern Ireland by Army-run agent Brian Nelson.

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